Thursday, October 22, 2015

The New Sugar & Spice by Samantha Seneviratne and Cazuela Cookie Bars with Maple Whipped Cream

Happy day before Fri-Yay! I'm wondering if some of you have noticed that I have been in a little baking rut. It's been almost two weeks since I posted a mouth watering baked good. I did bake a banana bread, because I had three overly riped bananas that were screaming at me, to use them, and my husband has been asking me to make some for awhile now, ok he's been asking for a long while. Did I ever mention, that I'm not particularly fond of bananas, hence my procrastination. Other than that, I just haven't felt inspired to bake anything. Never fear, with my most favorite time of year approaching, {I absolutely love baking for the holidays}, I feel the banana bread was giving me a little nudge, and then it was the day I received the book I am excited to share with you today, (affiliate) The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking , that boosted my baking morale.  It was just the kick I needed to get started back on the baking track! The two main reasons why I was overjoyed to receive this book, was it is focused on spicing your baking up, literally with aromatic spices like Peppercorn & Chili, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove & Cardamom, Vanilla, Ginger, and Savory Herbs and Spices, and every recipe looked absolutely yummy!

In Puerto Rico, cazuela is a traditional pie usually made during the Christmas season. It is similar to a pumpkin pie but uses sweet potato, pumpkin, and coconut milk and usually contains no pie crust. This may also come as a surprise to you, but another food that I really am happy with a simple bite, is Pumpkin Pie. I don't know if it's the texture, or the flavor, but plain pumpkin pie isn't at the top of my list, but Pumpkin Cheesecake is. I chose this recipe for not only the pumpkin lovers, but {and I know I am not alone} for those of us who don't dislike pumpkin pie, but I'm just not that thrilled about it. I don't know if it was the coconut milk, the sweet potato or the nutmeg, but after only one bite, I wanted more. The combination of the coconut milk and heavy cream, layered with the sweet potatoe and nutmeg flavor, really enhanced the flavor of this almost pumpkin pie dessert. It's amazing how a few simple ingredients can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary!

3 Things I like About this Book
  • There are several reasons why I choose my cookbooks, and it's not only just for the recipes, but a cook book must have provocative food photographs, and it must have stories that accompany the recipes that inspired them. I like to read the stories behind the recipes, it forms a connection, when I can picture why the recipe came to be, then it becomes engrained in my memory, causing the recipe to become a very memorable one for me. Take for instance the story associated with Casuela Cookie Bars, Samantah writes,
"When my father was growing up in Sri Lanka, he had a garden that sounds like something out of a fairy tale, complete with a wild pumpkin patch. The curly pumpkin vines grew with such vigor that space became an issue. The only solution was to train them to grow up the sides of the garage and onto the roof. The bright orange orbs would swell and sweeten on the roof, which I imagine was quite a sight! His prolific pumpkins were the inspiration for these bars."
  • Each chapter is divided up into a Spice category like Peppercorn & Chili, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove & Cardamom, Vanilla, Ginger, and Savory Herbs and Spices. There isn't a recipe I wouldn't want to miss making because of their tantalizing flavors, for instance Sour Cherry Cheesecake Bars (fresh ground cloves), Cinnamon Hazelnut and Date Buns, or an exotic recipe like Fig and Fennel Seed Biscotti, I'm not a huge fan of black licorice, but I do however love Anise. After the introduction to the chapter, Samantha gives a brief history and description of each spice, as well as where to buy it and how to store it.
  • What I really enjoyed about this book are the photographs are easy on the eyes, giving the reader a sensual visual of the recipes, that you can almost smell the fragrant spices, and taste how delicious each one is. The photographs are both very pretty to look at, and clean, not too distracting that showcase the ingredients in their simple and pure state! Very important to me as well as how easy it is to access the ingredients. Most of them I have in my pantry already, or an ingredient I would enjoy adding to it!
To read more reviews on (affiliate link) The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking ; via Amazon, click the photo below.

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press (September 8, 2015)
Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607747464
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607747468

  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1 x 10.3 inches

    Cazuela Cookie Bars with Maple Whipped Cream (adapted)

    Shortbread Cookie Base

    3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/2 tsp. salt
    2 1/2 cups all purpose flour


    1 cup cooked or roasted sweet potato flesh
     (about 12 oz. from 1 med. sweet potato)

    1 cup pumpkin puree
    (not pumpkin pie filling)

    1 cup coconut milk
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
    4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
    3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. salt
    4 large eggs


    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 13x9 baking pan.

    2. In a stand up mixer, cream butter and sugar  on medium speed until fluffy, for 3-4 minutes. Add the salt and flour and beat just until the four is evenly moistened and the mixture is the texture of a coarse meal. Pour the crumbs into the pan and press down into an even layer. Bake until golden brown and set for 20-24 minutes. Let it cool, while you prepare filling.

    3.Add the sweet potato, pumpkin, coconut milk, heavy cream, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt to mixing bowl. Mix until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs and mix just until combined. Pour the sweet potato mixture onto the prepared crust, and bake until filling is set with a slight jiggle in the center 35-45 minutes. Cool for about an hour, and then cover and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours. Serve with a dollop of Maple Whipped cream.

    To make Maple Whipped Cream.

    In a stand up mixer fitted with a wire whisk, begin whipping 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, until fluffy 3-4 minutes. Add 2 Tbls. Pure Maple Syrup, and 1-2 Tbls. sugar. Whip to combine. Do not overwhip.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
    Until next time!
    Please Follow Me Here! Thank you!

    Twitter | Bloglovin | Google+ | Facebook Pinterest

    Disclaimer: I received my copy of The New Sugar and Spice for review purposes from
     Blogging for Books but all opinions are my own.


    1. You always share the best recipes! This looks absolutely delicious and I think I will be making a new cookbook purchase...Merry Christmas to me! :-) Hugs!!

    2. These cookie bars look so pretty and delicious! All the ingredients are just right for a Fall treat.Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty

    3. The Cazuela Cookie Bars look and sound delicious, Christine, as does the cookbook, I must add this to my cookbook collection! Thanks for sharing,
      have a great weekend!

    4. What a pretty book and a delicious looking treat! I can imagine the pumpkin and coconut milk being wonderful together!

    5. Your Cookie Bars look delicious! Hope you are having a great day and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
      Come Back Soon!
      Miz Helen

    6. This sounds SO delicious! :)

      Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

    7. it looks supeeer yuuum...I can imagine the exquisite taste of sweet potato mixed with pumpkin and coconut milk! Heaven..